By Marcus Hill
The way Marcus Mills smoked his competition in his first-ever 110 hurdles race showed a clear path to dominance.
In Mills' first go in the race, the Sierra High School senior competed in the second of four heats at the 2021 Harrison Panther Invite in Colorado Springs and clocked in at 16.83.
Mills' time, which placed him fifth overall out of 26 competitors, was more than three seconds faster than second place of the second heat.
The Stallions' hurdler cruised the rest of the season setting multiple personal-best times in the 110 and earning a state bid as a sophomore.
In the prelims at the 2021 Colorado State Track and Field Championships, he set a then-PR of 15.99 to qualify for finals.
The following day in finals, Mills hit his first hurdle - literally and metaphorically.
After the official shot his starter's pistol, Mills bolted out of the blocks hoping to dust his opposition how he did in his first race of the year.
One problem, Mills clipped the first hurdle and ventured out of his lane, which disqualified him from the race. Rather than quit, Mills completed the race knowing he wouldn't register a final time.
His coach, Amy Dolbeare, applauded his effort and resolve to complete the race.
Mills knew the DQ served as a minor blip in his future.
"I'll be back," Mills said at the time following the race. "Trust me, this isn't the end for me."
Spoiler alert, Mills was correct.
As a junior, Mills ran the 110 hurdles seven times, set then-personal bests on three occasions - all in the opening three meets - and finished no worse than second that season.
In Mills' final 110 hurdle event of 2022, he returned to the scene that fueled him to an astonishing junior campaign.
Mills didn't stumble nor fold under the pressure at the 2022 Colorado State Track and Field Championships - he earned the state title in the 110 hurdles at 14.90, nearly three-tenths of a second faster than second.
Mills placed second in the 300 on May 6 at the Doherty Spartan Invitational at 39.89, .14 behind Pine Creek's William Stone.
As for the 110H, including prelims, Mills has earned 11 consecutive first place finishes.
The last time the Stallions senior didn't win the 110 was in the prelims of the 2022 Colorado State Track and Field Championships.
On April 29 at the District 2 Invitational, Mills clocked in at 14.22 in the 110 hurdles. This was a personal best and currently ranks 122nd in the nation.
At the time, it was the 47th fastest finish in the United States.
Mills has the chance to defend his state title in the 110H at the 2023 Colorado State Championships, and align himself as one of the best in the event in Colorado.
He's impressed throughout the year and is once again prepared to do it on the big stage.See More from Marcus Hill